Teaching kids about the Holy Spirit

 

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13, NASB). See also Galatians 5:16; John 16:13.

How Kids Think

Children often feel overwhelmed by their problems and the choices that loom before them. They struggle with the tug-of-war in their heart: their conscience directs them to do what is right, but evil entices them to do the opposite.

Many Christian kids do not know how to allow God to lead and transform them. When they hear about “the Holy Spirit” they think of a ghostlike “Casper” or a mysterious Star Wars “Force” instead of the 3rd Person of the Trinity. With simple instruction, children can understand that they have a divine Counselor and Helper who is eager to encourage, comfort, lead, convict, and guide them. The “Spirit of life” has set Christians free from the power of sin and death!

God’s Wisdom

Jesus promised that the presence of the Holy Spirit would bless His disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

God’s Spirit indwells (lives permanently inside) every Christian (1 Corinthians 6:19). But many Christians are not filled (directed and empowered) with the Holy Spirit. To walk in the Spirit, Christians must be under God’s total influence (Ephesians 5:18). The wonderful news is that God will direct and empower all believers—adults and kids. There is no junior Holy Spirit! Our good and loving Father seeks to bless and fill everyone who asks with the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:9-13).

“Get Stirred Up!” Object Lesson

Our elementary class was starting a new unit. Some students were intrigued as they passed a large glass of milk and a container of chocolate syrup on my teacher’s table. I greeted the kids and asked them to sit down. I began the object lesson by slowly pouring chocolate syrup into the glass of milk. The children were silent until one 1st grader chimed in, “Are you making CHOCOLATE milk?” Squeezing more syrup into my glass, I smiled and nodded.

Then I lifted the glass of milk that now had a thick layer of chocolate on the bottom (visible through the clear mason jar). I smiled again and said, “I can hardly wait to drink this amazing chocolate milk!” I held the glass to my lips and took a sip. I slowly drank about half of the plain white liquid (the chocolate was still inert on the bottom of my glass).

Jake, a seven year old who is always concerned about “doing things right” pointed to my glass and said, “That’s not chocolate milk. Its not stirred up!” I pretended to look surprised, “Oh, the chocolate is supposed to be mixed in, Jake? What a good idea, I’ll try that.” I grabbed a spoon and stirred the milk until it was a frothy, brown color. Lifting the glass to my lips I asked, “Does that look better?” They all nodded—and several children volunteered to try it for me!

With their attention firmly fixed on the glass (hoping for a sip), I explained, “The white milk is like our lives, and the chocolate is like the Holy Spirit! When God saves us, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us; but that doesn’t mean He’s in control of every part of our lives! The Holy Spirit can help us become “tastier” Christians—who think and act like Christ, instead of living for ourselves. We just need Him to completely fill and control us. We need the Holy Spirit to get stirred up inside us!”

Let’s be like tasty chocolate milk, mixing God into every part of our lives!

What are the Holy Spirit’s Roles?

Children who know that the Holy Spirit indwells them often don’t realize what He does. These seven Scriptural symbols can help explain the roles the Holy Spirit has in our lives:

Salvation Roles

  • Dove: God’s Spirit is like a gentle dove that seeks peace between God and people. (God’s Peace, Matthew 3:16-17)
  • Deposit: God’s Spirit is like a bank deposit that purchases salvation for all who believe. (God’s Payment, Ephesians 1:13-14)
  • Seal: God’s Spirit is like a legal seal that secures believers as God’s own. (God’s Promise, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Sanctification Roles

  • Fire: God’s Spirit is like cleansing fire that purifies disciples from personal sin. (God’s Purification, Zechariah 13:9)
  • Water: God’s Spirit is like refreshing water that sustains disciples day after day. (God’s Provision, John 7:37-39)
  • Oil: God’s Spirit is like precious oil that authorizes and empowers disciples to do God’s work. (God’s Power, 1 Samuel 16:13)
  • Wind: God’s Spirit is like heaven-sent wind that guides disciples along God’s path. (God’s Pathway, John 3:8)

What You Can Do

Share with your child how to live the Spirit-filled life every day:

  • Ask God’s Spirit to direct and guide you (Luke 11:9-13).
  • Pray for God to transform you. Say “no” to self and repent for wrongdoing. Ask the Lord for wisdom to choose the right thing (Matthew 16:24-26).
  • Yield to Jesus Christ who lives in and through you. Jesus is the Master; you are His servant. From now on, He has final say in everything (Galatians 2:20).
  • Rejoice in God’s presence and for the fruit He is producing in your life (Galatians 5:22-23)!

The Spirit-filled life = my death to self + Jesus’ life in me
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, NASB).

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11 Comments

  1. Helen Edeaghe April 8, 2015
  2. Keith Pierce April 9, 2015
  3. Anya Moxey April 10, 2015
  4. Ray June 1, 2016
  5. Adrian Timmons August 29, 2016
  6. Shelly Grajewski March 22, 2017
  7. Raquel Jimeno March 31, 2017
  8. dejene abebe May 9, 2017
  9. Anish July 22, 2017
  10. sandy miller August 12, 2017
  11. Consuelo Bariuan Davis November 3, 2017

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